You rely on factors like foot traffic to bring customers into your location, so a change that affects that traffic can hurt your business significantly. Several factors go into choosing your location, including the surrounding area. Things like a nearby major store or employer closing, road construction that changes traffic patterns, and new developments that affect the area can suddenly mean fewer people walking by your store. Recovering from those changes may require a little work and creativity on your part.
Revisit Your Marketing Plan
Before making changes to your business model, review your marketing plan to identify weaknesses. If you’ve been relying primarily on foot traffic, it may be time to rethink other strategies, such as ramping up your social media efforts, using content marketing, and trying paid advertising. These marketing strategies can help you reach a larger audience that doesn’t already know about your business, which can help compensate for the decreased foot traffic.
Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal
Just because one source of foot traffic disappears doesn’t mean you can’t still attract passersby. If your building looks boring, blends in with the surroundings, or looks run down, it may be time for a makeover. A well-maintained exterior with unique window displays can draw attention and encourage people to stop. Clean your windows, repaint the exterior, replace an old awning, and hang a large new sign with a bold design that catches the eye. Freestanding chalkboard signs on the sidewalk during your open hours also help attract attention.
Rebrand Your Business
If you still believe your retail business can do well as it is, consider rebranding your store to reinvigorate the business. Perhaps your message just isn’t resonating with your target audience. Branding elements include colours, fonts, logos, decor, and language you use in print materials. Focus on your target market, and change up those elements to better align with what your ideal customer wants to see.
When your foot traffic changes, you may need to change with it. You might need to rethink your target audience or change the type of products you offer to keep up with new demands in the area. Changing your niche can also help. Instead of trying to sell a little bit of everything, focus on one type of product. This focus can help attract new customers with niche marketing that appeals to your target audience. You become the go-to source for that particular type of item instead of competing with so many other stores selling general products.
Relocating is another option if you need a change in direction. This may be ideal for changes to the makeup of the neighborhood, such as rerouted traffic or new construction that discourages foot traffic. Moving isn’t always easy due to lease issues and the costs involved, but it may be a viable option for some businesses.
Finding a way to make your business stand out from the competition can bring in new traffic. One way to do this is to expand your offerings by holding classes or special events. If you own a spice shop, hold a monthly cooking class. A clothing store might hold a fashion show or offer personal styling sessions. A DIY night at a craft store can draw in new people. These events get people in your store to increase sales and potentially hook new customers for repeat business. Plan your event to incorporate items customers can buy from your store to encourage them to go home with more.
A sudden change in foot traffic feels like a huge blow, but it doesn’t mean the end of your business. Work with what you have and test out different options to breathe new life into your small business to regain traffic.